Alex Gorecki, Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, Clinical Colleagues, Inc.
Can you eliminate your anesthesia subsidy? Actually, the answer is YES.
As hospital leadership teams look for new ways to decrease costs while increasing operational efficiency, a common question that arises is – “Is it possible to eliminate our anesthesia subsidy?” The simple answer, believe it or not, is yes! Here’s how:
1. Create an efficient staffing model. This means taking a close look at your operating room schedule, and staffing with the right mix of anesthesia providers for each shift, based on projected patient volumes. You can’t overstaff. You can’t understaff. Instead, you must put a model in place that assures that you have exactly who you need on the clock (no more, no less), around the clock.
2. Compensate providers fairly and competitively. There is a fine line between overpaying and underpaying anesthesia providers, and you must be willing to walk it. While over compensating will allow you to more easily attract candidates, it will ultimately create budget challenges. On the flip side, underpaying will allow you to quickly reduce payroll costs, but will inevitably attract lower quality providers and lead to high turnover costs long-term. It’s important to understand your market and compensate anesthesia providers fairly and competitively.
3. Find a billing partner that specializes in anesthesia services. Anesthesia is the most complicated service line to bill for. It needs to be done by someone who understands the nuances of anesthesia coding. View this as an investment rather than a cost, because it will most definitely produce a positive return.
4. Streamline your anesthesia operation. Identify what is working well within your anesthesia department, as well as areas where you can improve, from an operational standpoint, financial perspective, or both. Designate someone from your team to document strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within the department, or partner with an anesthesia practice management company to conduct this analysis and determine solutions for your consideration.
Putting in place an efficient and cost-effective anesthesia arrangement can realistically eliminate your need to subsidize the anesthesia service. Plus, when the anesthesia team collaborates closely with your surgical services team, you will see your entire OR operations become more efficient.